Thursday, August 25, 2011

past perfect

you wake up one morning and realize you're over forty-five and society has labeled you past-your-prime. what do you do? do you run for the hills (assuming you can still run) screaming like crazy or what? but before you do a thing, don't forget to buy the best, most expensive, replenishing-rejuvenating-restoring, age-defying lotions and potions; or.....get comfortable and settle in for some botox and a nice snip-lift-pull-tuck from the fountain-of-youth hawkers, knowing it's all downhill from here.

this is it. you're stuck in a full blown, genuine, state-of-the-art mid-life crisis. you ask: who am i? what do i think? what do i want?

do you search for role models you can identify with who have graying hair and wrinkles and a few extra pounds, yet who remain beautiful (especially inside) and funny and strong and wise and all-put-together, in a word, close to perfect? these rare specimens are nearly perfect. they have only just passed perfect, passed prime, into middle age.

in your mind:

......the years had plodded along and i felt as if i had done everything i was capable of, had gone everywhere i was able, had seen what i wanted to see, had accomplished a lot of what i set out to do......

is that it? the once-upon-a-time-life-of-youth was almost perfect, but that's part of the past. now, as you hover in the middle years, life is coming to the end of the final act, so please get ready to pull the curtain down?

no, wait. hold the show. i refuse to listen to any of this. none of it's right. it's all wrong. there is no done, ended, finished. there is no perfect; there is no past perfect. there is only you. today. and, yes, you are aging, but so what? you can do what you want. you don't have to listen to what magazines, books, advertisements, twitter and all of that stuff that screams youth and perfection has to say. don't listen to anyone else. listen to you. listen to yourself. what do you want?

i don't believe in those nasty words past-your-prime. i despise them. they imply there is hardly anything left to do, to see, to think, to feel, to become. ye gods, wake up! there is life left down the road. you are changing, the world is changing—get used to it. and you better keep up. don't let other voices bully you. be your own voice. enjoy your own company. play a game: live life like you're brand new in the world and you're experiencing what you come across each day for the very first time.

there are lots of people lined up behind you heading down the same road, too.

i am walking on it right now. i look to my left, to my right. i look onward. what i see is actually quite lovely. really. come on along.

one warning: never look down at your feet. you might miss out on what lies just ahead—over there, see?

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